Joyce Mvula, the Queens shooter led the team high and fighting to position six after having fallen off a sixth ranking in the world.
“We told ourselves that it was not our position,” she says in reference to a previous position that she cites as a downer for the team.
Then, placed ninth, Mvula says the Queens is a good team. “We are hard workers—that [nine] position did not make us happy.”
The United Kingdom-based netballer, inspired the Queens in reclaiming position six, in the July 2019 Netball World Cup in Liverpool England.
Mvula joined the Queens in Wales as the team geared up for test match series against the hosts, Scotland and Trinidad and Tobago.
She was injured in May, during her club’s last match against Wasps in the Vitality Netball Superleague and she was given six weeks to recover.
On being a sports persona, she says: “To get there, you have to work hard, To get there, you have to perform. When you break a leg, you have to heal and keep pushing forward”
Limping off the court, a testament to an injured knee, Mvula had led Manchester Thunder—her team to championship, a feat that they had not achieved five years prior.
Hobbling off in the final quarter of the match, concern laced the netball fraternity that feared her injury could be a big blow to the Queens netball campaign.
The beauty of netball, Mvula says, you don’t succeed alone. The Queens thrashed sixth ranked Uganda, eighth placed Northen Ireland and teams Zimbabwe and Singapore, the most fast improving teams on the world netball scene.
To pull off the game, the way she did, Mvula says, it took teamwork.
Looking back on her victories in Manchester Thunder, Mvula stresses that it takes trust.
“If your coach, your teammates trust you, you do well as a team, she says.”
Mvula is a netball gem, who started playing netball when she was in primary school.
Her tall slender self, got people constantly courting her to join netball, but she had no interest at first.
Constantly bullied by peers for being tall, she began to go for netball practice to avoid the bullying.
“I started out playing as a defender with Blue Eagles Netball Club,” the team which would later usher her into a full blown national stage for netball.
“We lived closer to the club, at the time I was going to Nankhaka Primary School,” which is located in Lilongwe, Area 30.
She says while she was with Blue Eagles, she began to train as a shooter.
She recalls Blue Eagles’ coach, Samuel Kanyenda, as the one person who has built into the netballer she is today.
“He got me shoes, he got me all the sports gears that I needed,” she says, when she was 16 years old and in Form One she began to play in the Malawi National Netball Team.
She says it was Kanyenda who paid for her passport, the same passport she is using today.
Whenever there are big games, Kanyenda would always pick her up from school, and he would take her back after the games.
“He made me stay in netball, whatever I lacked he provided says Mvula,” who recalls that because of her age her father sternly stood against her playing netball.
The people Mvula played with were bigger, older and much stronger, she says, her father feared, she would get hurt.
He, however, gave in after seeing her performance, “I believe after seeing what I could do, he thought maybe it’s something that I was meant to be”
From Nankhaka, she was named best shooter in the Standard Bank Tournament, her first ever big game. She was spotted by Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL) Queens, who signed her up.
MTL gave her a scholarship to study at Joyce Banda Foundation for her secondary school education, however, her heart remained with Blue Eagles.
Her goal-shooting skills not only won her a scholarship but also got her selected into the Malawi National Netball Team in 2010, and she has been on the team since.
Needless to say that she went back to play with Blue Eagles Sisters, her first and former club.
Part of the national team squad, during the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Mvula was spotted by the English Super League team Manchester Thunder.
She thanks Mary Waya, Malawi’s own renowned netball star, for her help in getting into the Manchester team.
Mvula, however-says, that she finds it to be the grace of God.
“I was young at the time, and did not have any game time. I was on the bench.” And to be spotted just like that, it’s nothing short of a miracle.
Even so, Mvula’s netball exploits, were a testament to her having made the English netball premier league, becoming the second netball export after Mwawi Kumwenda.
She began to play for Manchester Thunder in 2017, and has since won awards.
Awarded players’ player of the year and most improved player of the year by her club. Mvula has had to learn and adjust fast.
She was pushed to work very hard to catch up with the standards in the United Kingdom, hence winning the most improved player of the year award.
Manchester Thunder’s Joyce Mvula was also voted the Fans’ Player of the Season for 2019.
Skysports.com reports that after 5 500 votes, the Grand Finalist and Malawian international shooter, Mvula, just edged-out Loughborough Lightning’s captain Nat Panagarry to top spot.
Her high shooting accuracy combined with exceptional split-steps and excellent partnerships with Kathryn Turner and her mid-court attackers, throughout the season, and in the season finale, Skysports reports.
Mvula came first after a combined reveal of a 10-strong list of nominees by Sky Sports and Vitality Netball Superleague.
“The award means that I am loved by supporters. Anyone would have been chosen,” she says this gives her a starting point for her next season.
It has given her an urge to work harder and deliver more on the pitch.
She was also named player of the match twice during this year’s World Netball Cup games and twice each by her team and Sky Television.
Mvula’s performance not only reflects well on her ability as a player, but is also a sign that Malawian players can be the best. Her accurate shooting skills have been very significant for the Queens.
She has shown and proved that she can and every Malawian player can.
Motivated to work extra hard for her team, Mvula encourages those who look up to her, she says hard work has been key and it is hard work that will lead anyone to success.
She says netball has not been without challenges and disappointments. But determination to forge ahead has been crucial.
Sixth born of eight, Mvula was born on April 15, 1994. Her father was a police officer and her mother, a house wife. She was born at Mzuzu Central Hospital. She comes from David Momba Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Kampingo Sibande in Mzimba. She is currently a police officer with the Malawi Police Service.